Welcome to India, a stunning land stretching from the snowy peaks of the ancient Himalayas to Cape Comoran jutting into the sea. Though some may associate India with the major religions of Hinduism or Islam, Christians have enjoyed a long and rich history on the Indian subcontinent. Today the Christian church in India is finding creative ways to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others.
We want to see reproducing communities of disciples in India who are:
- Passionate about worshipping God
- Being transformed by the Word of God
- Fulfilling the Lord Jesus’ Gospel mandate
- Impacting all sections of society
By God’s empowering and guiding grace, and together with our Indian Partners, we will work towards seeing vision realised, through the following areas of ministry focus:
Developing Leaders who will disciple the Church.Ministering to Human Need through Community Health, development and other initiatives – reaching out to vulnerable at-risk groups of people.Witness and discipleship initiatives with Youth and Children.Witness to people-groups who have had little or no opportunity to hear of the love of Christ.
Our focus is mainly in the North (along the highly populous Gangetic river basin) however we do some specific partnerships in the South.
India is on its way to becoming the most populous nation in the world with over a billion people crowded on 2.4% of earth’s land. More than 12% are Muslims. At the same time, about 80% are Hindu, embracing 330 million gods and goddesses. In this nation of religious pluralism, no official state religion is proclaimed – India has been careful to preserve freedom of religion in its constitution. Christians constitute about 2.3% of the population according to the 2001 Census, although they comprise a much smaller minority in the highly populous and diverse Northern regions.
Due to it’s very large and growing economy, India has been gaining increased recognition on the world stage. However the disparity between rich and poor is marked, with more than 40% living below the poverty line – one third of the entire world’s poor live in India according to World Bank estimates.
There are 18 officially recognized languages, and 1,500 unofficial dialects.
Christianity in India
The apostle Thomas is said to have set foot in Kerala, South India, in 52 AD. Orthodox Christianity was well established in the south by the year 200 AD. By 345 AD, over 500 Christian communities thrived in South India.Vasco da Gama’s visit to India led to the start of Roman Catholic work in the 16th Century. Today the Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in India with over 8,500,000 adherents.
Protestant missions began with the arrival of Danish-Halle Lutherans in South India in 1706. The Baptist Missionary Society’s first missionary, William Carey, arrived in 1793, and established work at Sarempore. This marked the beginning of the modern era of Protestant missions in the world.
Since Independence in 1947, and due to government policy, the number of foreign Christian workers in India has decreased rapidly. On the other hand, the number of national Christian workers and independent indigenous churches has increased tremendously, and it is exciting to see what God is doing through the Indian Christian movement.
SIM, resulting from the merger of several other missions, commenced work in Ceylon and Pune (then spelled Poona) in 1893. Today SIM works in several areas in the North, with some ministry focus also in the South.
Having awakened to the reality of India as a creative-access nation, SIM has seen a significant increase of new field workers in recent years, including a number from two-thirds world countries. SIMers in North India are developing new partnerships with Indian Christian agencies and churches, with a strong focus on assisting their outreach to the many large and diverse people groups within this region.
Points for Prayer
- Continued growth of church and outreach-oriented movements in the North.
- Strengthening of local partnerships and identification of new Indian Partners with whom to minister.
- Training of pastors and Christian leaders to result in more effective ministries to resulting in fruit for God’s kingdom.
- Effective discipling of young believers who have made a commitment to follow Christ.
- The Lord to raise up more international personnel to come work with us and our partners and more teachers for MK schools.
- Wisdom for the field leadership as they work with a growing multinational field team and as they continue to develop creative-access models for ministry.
- Our short-term program: that more people would be led to come, and to become future (longer term) co-workers through praying, giving or going.
- Further development of outreach to the enormous population of youth and children, through strategic ministries involved in schools, sports, universities, and work places.
- Encouragement and joy for field members in the midst of what can be an intense and stressful living and working environment.
- The ministries of compassion to human need; that whole families and local communities will come to know the Lord through holistic and transformational initiatives.
- For our new field leadership, that God would continue to develop a strong and effective team to work together for the growth of the field and the kingdom of God.